Illinois Car Accident Claims and Lawyers
The “Land of Lincoln” is a state steeped in history and influence. Two of the countries’ most influential presidents came from Illinois, and the U.S. Navy maintains a large base and recruit training center within the state’s boundaries. The state is also surprisingly diverse: Whereas the southern part of the state tends to be more agricultural and open, the northern part of the state (especially around Chicago) is certainly more urban and congested.
Illinois’ large population (12.8 million – the fifth largest in the nation – according to 2013 census data) means that Illinois has more registered drivers than many other states in the country. When a greater number of people take to the roads for work or pleasure, the chances of a crash or collision increases. Illinois drivers (or those just passing through) should learn what to do in the event they are injured in an Illinois car crash.
Illinois Car Accidents at a Glance
The Illinois Department of Transportation maintains statistics that show how many crashes (and what types of crashes) occur on the state’s roadways in any given year. As one might expect from the fact that Illinois boasts such a large population, the number of fatal car crashes in Illinois is greater than many other states. In 2015, the Department of Transportation reported that there were 914 crashes that claimed the lives of a total of 998 people. This was an increase from the year before, where only 923 people were killed.
As important as the number of fatalities is the reason for why the fatality crashes occurred in the first place. The term “crashes” is often used to describe traffic collisions because few collisions – even fatal ones – are truly “accidents,” and this is especially true in Illinois. Behaviors like drinking and driving or texting while driving are deliberate choices made by drivers, and these behaviors significantly increase the likelihood of causing an injury or fatal car crash. For this reason, many state and national agencies and groups have spent considerable resources trying to inform drivers of the dangers their careless choices can create for themselves and others.
Illinois is a “Fault-Based” Insurance State
Regardless of your driving skill level, Illinois requires that you purchase a sufficient auto insurance policy if you live in Illinois and intend to drive on the state’s roads. Insurance in Illinois follows a “fault based” system: The insurance policy you purchase is designed to provide compensation to others you may injure in car crashes caused by your own negligence. If you were injured by another insured motorist from Illinois, you would file a claim for compensation with that motorist’s insurance carrier. Provided that his or her insurance company covers your loss under the terms of the policy and the insurance carrier is satisfied that its client is at fault, your claim will be paid.
You may be able to file a car accident lawsuit in court if the insurance company refuses to pay your claim or does not cover all of your losses. In such a lawsuit, you would bear the burden of proving that the other driver drove in a careless manner and that this careless driving caused the crash and your injuries. You may be able to recover compensation even if you were partly to blame in causing the crash, so long as your degree of fault in causing the crash does not exceed 50 percent. If a judge or jury determines you were 50 percent or less to blame for the crash and your injuries, you will be able to recover some amount of compensation (although it may be reduced to account for your negligence). Otherwise, you are foreclosed from recovering any compensation at all.
Illinois’s Statute of Limitations
If you do decide to file a car crash lawsuit, be aware of Illinois’ two-year statute of limitations. This requires that you file your lawsuit for compensation within two years of the date your injury accident occurred. In the vast majority of cases, there are no applicable exceptions that can extend this deadline. If you do file your case after the statute of limitations has passed, the at-fault party can ask the court to dismiss your case as being untimely filed and the court will order that your case be dismissed. You will not be able to recover any compensation based upon accidents that occurred more than two years ago.
Obtain Prompt Assistance with Your Car Crash Questions
Call Stern Law, PLLC at (844) 808-7529 as soon as possible after being involved in a car accident. We can help manage the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on your recovery while resting assured your legal rights are protected. Stern Law, PLLC fights hard to help injury victims recover the compensation they need to put their lives back together following a car accident.